Community pharmacies have long been advocated as an accessible source of advice on health improvement in communities. This cross-sectional study explored the association between provision of pharmacy public health services and factors that might influence the extent to which pharmacies contribute to tackling inequalities.
Publically available data were used to explore the association between pharmacy public health service provision and pharmacy characteristics (socioeconomic deprivation, urbanity, opening hours and workload). Regression models were fitted to the number of service consultations. The association between the number of services provided and the mean number of consultations across each service was investigated using regression models.
Pharmacies showed a propensity for being situated in areas of higher socioeconomic deprivation. There was no association between socioeconomic deprivation and number of service consultations a pharmacy provided. Clustering of pharmacies in less affluent areas led to over half of all public health service consultations being in the two most deprived quintiles.
Providing healthcare services from pharmacies in more deprived areas does not mean the public use them or that pharmacies will prioritize their delivery. The higher prevalence of pharmacies in disadvantaged communities is an important factor in ensuring pharmacy services support reducing inequalities.